"The Politics of Art" Seminar with Hanan Toukan
“Introduction to Arab Studies” is a Fall 2021 course that will offer a speaker series component open to our community. The series of events will highlight the framework of collective belonging, cultural construction, identity and heritage formation, and is this year's academic theme for the Abbasi Program.
Tuesday, October 5th: Hanan Toukan, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Bard College Berlin, will discuss her book The Politics of Art: Dissent and Cultural Diplomacy in Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan
Course description: What is Arab Studies? Who are Arabs? Where do they live? How can we better understand this area and its people? This class offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to engage with Arab Studies through a series of public lectures, screenings, and discussions. One key theme of our course this year is Arab Cities and Urban life. After a quick introduction to the region in the first week, we quickly move to crucial historical junctures in world recognized cities from Dubai to Beirut, Damascus to Cairo, Amman to Casablanca, Mecca to Algiers, passing through cities and regions between. Honing into cultural, political, and religious lives of Arabs in these urban environments, we'll always end by asking a question on our theme of recovery. Can Arabs recover from colonialism? Division? Loss? COVID-19? Can they recover themselves? Is it even desirable to do so? In partnership with the Abbasi Program for Islamic Studies, we will host scholars, artists, and thinkers in our midst to learn about their worldviews, their battles, and their desired destinies. Lectures will engage with traditional topics of Arab Studies, such as Orientalism, the Postcolonial turn, Colonialism, Arab Nationalism, Arab-U.S.A relations, Modernity, tumultuous second half of the twentieth century, September 11, and the last two decades of invasions, occupations, revolution, turmoil, and most recently, the world-wide pandemic. Is there an "Arab-World"?